Rely on VLC as your primary media player? It’s a more powerful media player than you might realize.
For many users, VLC is one of the first applications in line to be installed on any new machine. It’s a great choice for a free, no-nonsense media player — but it also has plenty of tricks up its sleeve, if you’re prepared to dig below the surface.
Control Playback Speed
Ever been listening to an audio file or watching a video clip and found yourself struggling to keep up? If you have any experience transcribing audio, or you’re a student who records your lectures, you may very well have had this problem — and it’s something easily fixed by VLC.
Click on Playback in the VLC toolbar and then select Speed. You’ll be given options to increase or decrease the speed of playback by a little or a lot, or to return to the default speed for whatever content you were playing.
Alternatively, you can simply use the square bracket keys [ and ] to amend playback speed on the fly. This can make it a little easier to take in every single word of an important audio file, or let you watch movies and listen to podcasts in record time — if you’re willing to put up with higher pitched voices, that is.
Record Online Radio Streams
VLC is well-known as a method of listening to Internet radio, but it’s also very capable of recording radio streams for you to listen to at a later time. It’s a great way of stocking up on content for a long trip, or just keeping up with a show that airs at an inconvenient time for you.
To get started, select Media from the toolbar, then click on Open Media. Enter the address of the content that you want to stream, then click on the small arrow next to the Play button to open a dropdown menu — select Stream from those options. Click Next on the screen that follows, then Add on the next screen to ensure that you save your desired content as an audio file and enter an appropriate file name for your audio clip.
On the next screen, uncheck the box that reads Activate Transcoding and click Next. Don’t change anything on the Miscellaneous Options screen, and click on Stream to start your recording. Then, just click the stop button once you’ve recorded everything that you need. Note: it’s illegal to record some radio streams, so it’s worth checking out what the regulations are regarding your desired broadcast.
Add Logo Watermarks
If you’re publishing your own video content to the Internet, you may well want to watermark it to prevent unauthorized use without your consent. There are plenty of ways to do this, but one of the most straightforward solutions is to do it directly from VLC itself.
First, you’ll need to have your logo ready to go — and it needs to be sized appropriately. Then, just open the video you want to watermark in VLC, click on Tools in the toolbar and navigate to Effects and Filters.
Head to the Video Effects tab, then the Overlay tab. You’ll be able to select your desired watermark in the Logo field, adjust where it will appear on the screen pixel by pixel and make other adjustments like how transparent you want your watermark to be.
Watch Video Using Your Oculus Rift
Early adopters are always hungry for more Oculus Rift content to experience using the game-changing device. While games and video created specifically to take advantage of the technology will always make for the best experience, there are workarounds that can allow VLC to display standard video files in a way that uses the Oculus Rift headset.
The most popular method is called Side by Side 3D or SBS 3D — a process where two videos play simultaneously side by side to give the illusion of depth. It won’t match up to the best that the Rift has to offer, but with some tweaking it can yield decent results.
Oculus offer some of their own documentation on how to get the best results out of SBS 3D, but the specifics might vary depending on what equipment you have available to you. VLC is an ideal media player for this sort of usage because of how easy it makes playing the files, as well as its strength in displaying HD video.
Organize Your Podcasts
Podcasts can offer up some excellent entertainment for free, no matter what your tastes are — but making sure you’re up to date with your favourite series can sometimes be a little overwhelming. It’s a good idea to use a program that automatically downloads new episodes to make sure you don’t fall behind, and VLC can hold its own against the very best tools available.
It’s as easy as having the feed URL of the podcast that you want to listen to. Once you’ve got it, click on View in the toolbar and then select Playlist. There should be a Podcasts playlist already included under the Internet subdivision on the left hand side of your screen.
Hover over that playlist and you’ll see a plus icon appear; click on that, and you’ll be presented with a field that you can enter the feed URL in. From there, you’re set — VLC will keep an eye out for new episodes, and have them ready for you when you want to listen. We all know how great VLC is at delivering media content, so it’s something of a no-brainer to let it organize your podcasts for easy access.
Record What’s Happening On Your Screen
Professional-quality screen capture software can be very expensive, but sometimes it’s much better to show someone what you’re doing rather than tell them about it. VLC offers screen capture functionality, and it can offer up some pleasing results — if your computer can handle the task.
To begin, navigate to Open Capture Device under the Media section of the toolbar. Select Desktop as the Capture Mode, and then select what frame rate you want to record at. A higher frame rate will make for smoother footage, but file sizes will be larger and it’ll be more taxing on your computer. Once things are set up, click the downward facing arrow on the Play button and select Stream from the dropdown menu.
Don’t make any changes to the Source settings and move on to Destination Setup. Here, leave the dropdown menu set to File and click Add, adjusting the file name however you see fit. If you want to make changes to the Transcoding settings, you can do so at the next screen — but the defaults will suit most purposes. Then, simply click Stream and you’ll begin recording; hit the stop button to end your capture.
Do you have your own great tips and tricks for use with VLC? Let us know about them in the comments section below.